Having gotten thoroughly hooked on Comic Cons last year, I headed to Manchester yesterday for their 2016 Film and Comic Con! I was back in my Daredevil costume, last worn in Blackpool – though by the time I left, I was wondering why I’d bothered as I kept the mask up for most of the time, unlike the one or two other Daredevils I saw wandering around.
Queuing was minimal, and the venue was comfortably spacious. There were plenty of excellent cosplays on offer: surprisingly few Poison Ivys and less Deadpools than I expected, but plenty of Harley Quinns, some Lord of the Rings characters, a Baymax (I saw him with his head off later and he was sweating buckets) and a large number of Reys and Kylo Rens. Easily the most original costume was the guy who wrapped his entire upper body in cotton wool and stuck pictures of sharks all over it: guess what he was supposed to be!
Wandering around the stalls is always fun. I can never resist a book at Comic Con: I ended up getting Prayer for the Blood Angel by Chantelle Roberts, two The Realm Jumpers books by Lennox Brown, and Dave the Scientist by Andrew Haywood. There were also replicas of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Barricade’s car forms on display, and cardboard VR headsets, which you stick your phone inside to play 360 degree virtual reality games.
Then there were the guests. There were a fair few Harry Potter actors: Jessie Cave, who played Lavender Brown, and Devon Murray, who played Seamus Finnigan.
Also there was Afshan Azad (Padma Patil), whom I’d already met at Blackpool. I was a bit nervous at approaching to say hello, given that I already had her autograph, but she actually remembered me!
Noel Clarke, who played Mickey Smith in Doctor Who, gave a Q&A session in the afternoon. Naturally, he was being asked a lot of questions about his Doctor Who experiences, so I decided to ask about one of his other projects, 22.214.171.124. This film – which Noel wrote, starred in and co-directed – involves four girls and four simultaneous, interlinked plotlines: I had been very impressed with how the film was constructed and asked Noel how he’d approached the writing process. He said it wasn’t that hard, since the film only takes place over three days. As for advising any budding screenwriters, he just said to never give up and write all the time: the more you do it, the better you get.
The guest I was most excited about was Michael Biehn, who played Kyle Reese in the first Terminator film. He also gave a Q&A, though he didn’t answer as many questions as Noel as his answers tended to be longer, though still very interesting. He talked about his supposed tendency to play “crazy” characters, the future of the Alien franchise and his role in it, and what it’s like working for James Cameron. (Biehn starred in three Cameron films: The Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss – not counting a deleted dream sequence in Terminator 2.) Biehn had great respect for Cameron, describing what an intense filmmaker he is, and how the two of them had been in similar stages of their respective careers when making The Terminator.
Unfortunately, a scheduled Film and Comic Con in Bolton appears to have been cancelled, so my next one will probably be in Preston. Looking forward to it!